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Taylor Swift applies for her .post domain

A back-up in case the whole music thing doesn’t work out?

Taylor Swift has become the first celebrity to attempt to defensively register her name in the .post gTLD, which is currently in the middle of a newly extended and incredibly belated sunrise period.

According to the registry’s web site, the domain taylorswift.post has been applied for by DNStination, a MarkMonitor subsidiary used to register names on behalf of clients.

The .post relaunch is pretty unusual in that all sunrise period applications are being published on the registry’s new web site, with a user-friendly form for challenging them.

About 60 domains have been approved since sunrise kicked off in mid-March and about the same amount are currently in their 30-day challenge period. For context, .post had barely 400 domains under management prior to the current relaunch, despite having been live in the DNS for 12 years.

The usual suspects such as Meta, Google and Amazon, as well as many national postal services, have all participated in the sunrise, which is open to all trademark holders regardless of their nexus to the logistics or postal industries.

But after the sunrise period is over and the new general availability regime begins, .post is only supposed to be for any entity “interested in participating in the postal, logistics or supply chain sectors”, so it’s difficult to see how a future cybersquatter might have been able to abuse Swift’s brand.

It’s probable that MarkMonitor is under instruction to “just register everything”. Swift is a multi-billion-dollar brand and the internet has no shortage of scumbags trying to rip off her millions of adoring fans.

That said, Swift’s domain application has another two weeks left on the challenge clock, so if you’re Team Kanye, or simply find her music nauseating…

.ad domains to go global soon

Andorra’s ccTLD is to become the latest potential domain hack for the Anglophone world, when the local registry massively liberalizes its registration policies later this year.

.ad domains are due to become available to any registrant globally starting in October, via an as-yet-unpublished list of approved registrars. General availability wholesale prices appear to be €15 ($16) a year.

Currently, the domains are only available to Andorrans manually going through the government trademark office, but it seems the registry, Andorra Telecom, has moved to a standardized EPP back-end with all the usual business logic that entails.

Before GA, starting May 22, there will be a gradual ramp-up period that seems to combine elements of typical sunrise and landrush periods. Foreign trademark owners will be able to apply during this period.

Interestingly, it seems that you may also be able to register a .ad that matches your domain in another TLD, without a matching trademark, during this period.

.ad is of course an abbreviation of “advertisement” in English, which may make it attractive to registrants outside Andorra.

The attractiveness is perhaps enhanced by the fact the the plural, .ads, is one of many gTLDs that Google owns but has so far refused to launch.

Andorra is a tiny nation, with a population about the same as Grimsby, nestled in the mountains between France and Spain. The national language is Catalan, as is the new registry web site.

.post liberalizes with new sunrise period

Kevin Murphy, March 19, 2024, Domain Registries

The .post gTLD has opened a brand-protection sunrise period 12 years after it first launched, after liberalizing its registration policies to allow private businesses to buy domains.

.post is a “sponsored” gTLD run by the Universal Postal Union, a UN agency, and so far the space has been restricted to national postal agencies which are individually vetted before their domains can go live.

But the policies have been updated to allow the likes of private shipping and logistics providers and post-related technology vendors to also register names.

Registrants will still have their credentials checked and published for opposition when applying to register names, so it’s not going to be a speculative free-for-all when .post eventually goes to “general availability” on May 1.

The sunrise period will run until April 15, with only trademark owners able to apply.

The operation is being run largely by EnCirca, which is the only accredited registrar apart from the registry itself. It had just 430 registered names at the last count.

The .post ICANN Registry Agreement is up for renewal this year.

Five more gTLDs get launch dates

Kevin Murphy, January 9, 2024, Domain Registries

Internet Naming Co has revealed the launch dates for the five dormant gTLDs it acquired late last year.

The company plans to go to Sunrise with .diy, .food, .lifestyle, .living, and .vana on January 24, according to ICANN records.

Before general availability on March 6, there’ll be a week-long Early Access Period, with prices starting at $25,000 wholesale and decreasing daily to settle at GA prices.

Unusually, and I think uniquely, there’s also going to be a 24-hour “Customer Loyalty Period” on February 28/29, which has the same prices as day one of EAP.

INCO CEO Shayan Rostam told me this period “gives us the opportunity to provision domains to certain existing customers or partners after sunrise but before GA.” He described it as a “1-day pioneer program phase for the registry.”

The five gTLDs were bought from Lifestyle Domain Holdings last year, as the would-be registry carried on dumping or selling off its portfolio of long-unused gTLDs.

.vana was a brand, but INCO plans to use it to do something as-yet-unrevealed related to blockchain naming systems. .diy refers to “Do It Yourself”, the practice of carrying out home improvements or repairs without hiring professional experts.

All of the five will be unrestricted. They’ve all been moved to the Tucows back-end registry service provider.

Seven domain hacks already registered in Google’s .ing

Kevin Murphy, October 16, 2023, Domain Registries

Some companies are using their trademarks to grab potentially valuable domain hacks in the upcoming .ing gTLD, possibly avoiding having to cough up seven figures for them later on.

There’s about a week left on Google Registry’s .ing sunrise period, but some hacks have already started showing up in the .ing zone file. Not counting those that look like they belong to Google, I count seven so far:

  • adapt.ing
  • design.ing
  • draw.ing
  • dumpl.ing
  • edit.ing
  • giv.ing
  • sign.ing

None of them resolve to web sites from where I’m sitting and Whois is pretty much useless nowadays other than to confirm that the registration dates that fell within the .ing sunrise, which began September 20.

edit.ing and sign.ing both have Adobe-owned name servers, which may give an indication of who registered those names.

To get a domain name during sunrise, you don’t necessarily need to have a famous brand, you only need to have a trademark recognized by the ICANN-approved Trademark Clearinghouse.

The trademark string can “cross the dot”, which may be what’s happened in the case of dumpl.ing and giv.ing.

Getting these potentially valuable generic domain hacks is particularly important in the case of .ing, where Google has set ludicrously high fees for its Early Access Period, which follows sunrise on October 31.

As first reported by Domain Name Wire, EAP prices start at $1.1 million retail.

Google to launch two fun new gTLDs next month

Kevin Murphy, August 31, 2023, Domain Registries

Google Registry is continuing its piecemeal rollout of new gTLDs with the launch of .ing and .meme this September.

Both TLDs will go to sunrise for a month from September 20, with general availability from December 5.

While both will have more-expensive Early Access Period phases, .meme is also getting a Limited Registration Period where “only content creation platforms specializing in the creation and distribution of internet memes may apply”.

While .meme is a pretty self-explanatory regular TLD with standard amount of long-tail potential, I think .ing might be the first TLD ever to launch with domain hacks as the primary envisaged use case.

Google gave “design.ing or writ.ing, ink.ing or row.ing” as potential domains.

There are a finite number of English verbs that would work well with a .ing suffix, potentially limiting registrations. I doubt the TLD will pass the 50,000 name threshold at which ICANN starts charging transaction fees, unless some other use cases are found.

Domainers not welcome as .music readies September launch

Kevin Murphy, August 31, 2023, Domain Registries

The long-awaited .music gTLD finally has a set of launch dates, but it looks like actually registering and keeping hold of a name is going to be painful, especially for domain investors.

DotMusic has filed its registry launch plans with ICANN, kicking off with a two-month sunrise period on September 11. General availability seems to be slated for April 9 next year.

Before the floodgates open, there’s going to be a “Community Organization Phase” from October 16 to March 10. Judging by registry policy documents, this phase looks like an extended sunrise for “music community” members that may not necessarily qualify for regular sunrise.

It looks like applying during this phase will be free, but there will be auctions for contested names.

At all stages including GA, it looks like people will be able to register .music names as usual via registrars, but then DotMusic will carry out a post-registration check that the registrant has sufficiently high musical street cred and the name closely matches their brand.

It will delete registrations that fail to meet these criteria. Indeed, it does not consider names truly “registered” until they have past these verification checks.

The registry has come up with something called a “Music Score” — I don’t know whether that’s an intentional pun — to determine whether a registrant is eligible for a .music domain.

It’s not really clear whether this is a numerical score with a pass/fail threshold, but calculating it requires the registrant to submit evidence of intellectual property, awards, social media activity, streams, and so on — 73 categories in total.

Registrants also have to demonstrate a nexus to their domain, so Napalm Death couldn’t register justinbieber.music, for example.

These verifications will be handled by a third-party company called ID.music (the domain does not currently resolve) which is also based in DotMusic’s home nation of Cyprus.

If all of this palaver isn’t enough to deter casual registrants and domainers, there’s a strict prohibition on “domain warehousing”. The policy states “the buying and holding of MTLD domain names as assets for resale, especially in bulk is prohibited”.

Record companies will be able to register their acts in bulk, if they’re approved by DotMusic, but domainers are not welcome.

The policy also bans privacy/proxy services.

Google to drop EIGHT new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, March 27, 2023, Domain Registries

Google Registry has announced launch details for eight new gTLDs that it has been sitting on for almost a decade.

It plans to launch .foo, .zip, .mov, .nexus, .dad, .phd, .prof and .esq over the coming couple of months, with all eight following the same launch schedule.

Sunrise will begin this weekend, April 2, and run for a month. The Early Access Periods will run for a week up until May 10, when they’re all go into general availability.

The .zip and .mov spaces will be worth keeping an eye on, especially for those in the security space.

Both gTLDs match popular file extensions — for compressed data and video respectively — which could present opportunities for innovation among the internet’s more nefarious players, such as phishers and malware distributors.

.zip is for “tying things together or moving really fast”, Google said, while .mov is “for moving pictures and other things that move”.

All of the new spaces appear to be marketed at general audiences, with no registration restrictions.

Google reveals launch dates for two new gTLDs

Kevin Murphy, August 24, 2022, Domain Registries

Google is slowly working through its backlog of unlaunched new gTLDs, this week announcing go-live dates for two dormant strings.

.boo and .rsvp will both follow the same launch schedule, with month-long Sunrise periods for trademark owners beginning October 4 and general availability starting November 15.

There will also be Early Access Periods, where names can be secured early for daily-decreasing premium fees, running from November 8 to November 15.

Google Registry described .boo as for those “building a website for love, laughs, or a surprise”, while .rsvp is for customers “celebrating a wedding, throwing a fundraiser, or accepting bookings for their business”.

They appear to be among the lightest-touch Google TLDs in terms of restrictions.

Google has been sitting on both gTLDs for over eight years.

Google to release another new gTLD next month

Kevin Murphy, November 19, 2021, Domain Registries

Google Registry is gearing up to unleash another gTLD from its stockpile of unreleased strings next month.

The gTLD is .day, one of over 100 that Google applied for in 2012 after a reported brainstorming session at the company.

According to its application:

The specialization goal of the proposed gTLD is to offer a new Internet environment that allows users to create and organize events that have or will occur on a particular day. The proposed gTLD will provide a single domain name hierarchy for Internet users globally to promote celebrations, such as a holi.day, wedding.day, or birth.day.

With that in mind, it’s difficult to see .day being a high-volume TLD along the lines of Google’s popular .app or .dev gTLDs.

While the company itself doesn’t seem to have addressed the launch publicly, it has given details to registrars and informed ICANN about its start-up dates.

It started a Qualified Launch Program program earlier this week. That’s where it gets to hand out a limited number of domains to hand-picked anchor tenants.

The sunrise period, restricted of course to trademarks, begins December 14 and ends January 24.

General availability starts January 25, according to registrars and ICANN records, with a seven-day Early Access Period during which domains can be purchased at daily-decreasing premium prices.

Full regular-price general availability begins February 1.